14 November 2017

Seeing my space more clearly - Studio Redesign 2017

Yes, piles and piles of stuff - just stuff really! WOW!!!

Studio layered in stuff all around me, driving me crazy. 

Cream paint covers wood that lightens up my space like crazy good!

AFTER. All walls painted cream (3 coats by hand) Furniture painted creams and blacks.

Another angle of studio. I now have four work spaces. Painting, Stitching, Letter Writing + Jewelry, Computer Design.

Corner niche, table made vintage suitcases old legs (thanks Hubby)

Vintage bookcase is painted and holds my most favorites. 

White curtains cover doors, bookcases, desk. Lamps all cream, crystal and wood. 

Chalk board wall at end of studio holds one of each of my 101 greeting cards
from my line of Pearl Buttons World.
Simple clean natural neutrals. Simplifying my space for clear vision.

I had this idea that a new clean, white vanilla - old whites and creams studio would be the answer to my busy crazy clutter that overwhelmed me when I was in my studio creating. I would wake up and come up to my studio and immediately feel overwhelmed to the point of almost having panic attacks. Panic attacks and anxiety have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I have (I am happy to say) learned how to control them for the most part. So the feeling of having them in one of my most sacred creative places was not good. I had to dive in and fix this. So I did.

I have always had a tiny studio (for 17 years it was a 10x10' bedroom) I created like mad in that studio but, not much painting or large pieces.  We moved across the country so I sold tons of everything from that studio, creating a fresh start. Believe it or not once moved I did miss a few things I had given away. One was a giant stack of handmade papers I had collected for years. Well eventually you do forget the stuff, promise.

So we were now living in Florida (loving the ocean so very much) my studio was big for the first time in my life. It was the family room in a beautiful rental on Siesta Key. Glorious space, tons of light, doors that opened to a wrap around veranda just lovely. Only one thing was missing = our love for living in Florida. So we moved. Again, I edited my stuff, tons of stuff again donated and gone.

After 18 months we moved again across the country, this time to Galena IL. Why? I had always wanted to live in Galena. Since coming to Galena in 6th grade on the trusty yellow school bus to visit President Grants home. I was smitten with the history and the charm of main street. I grew up in a tiny river town about one hour from here, Camanche, Iowa. A town build on the Mississippi river. I grew up going on the river all of the time, I loved it. Today the river (water) is one of my most favorite things and is very healing for me. I hit college and wanted to leave small behind. I left and did not look back (too much) SURE I missed my parents lots but, I saw them quite a bit. I never pictured myself not being in a big city.

So here I am a few decades later living one hour from where I grew up. I have done so much soul searching in the past four years. I have shed layers of me. I have sold, given, gifted almost everything I owned at one time. I have started over with a rule of purchasing nothing that was not found at an antique shop, yard sale, thrift shop (except soft items like beds, puffy chairs and such).
Trying to be most mindful of what comes into our home.

My hubby is very talented and can build, make anything and for that I am most blessed. He did not even question me when I said, "I need to completely get rid of everything and start over, in order to find me again and create". He (bless his heart) jumped in and helped me.

Now that I am close to being finished. A few ceiling lights to finish. My studio redesign is almost complete. I am happy to say that we spent under $750.00 including furniture, paint, lights etc.
The most expensive piece it the large gorgeous wood Armoire that houses my printers, papers, books, financial stuff and tons of good things I use daily. I adore that you must use the keys to open the doors. I love this piece. It had to be completely taken apart (which is cool that it is meant to) My studio is the top floor of our home which was once a church built in 1838. I love the feeling in this space so very much. I feel like I am honoring the magic inside this home.

I have created four spaces to meet my needs of creating, a sewing area, writing and jewelry making, painting and other fun art stuff, computer design. I am so happy with the feeling of calm where ever I look. I am being very careful and mindful of what is hung and placed in my sight. I will continue to be careful as to what I bring into my studio.

Yes, it will get messy when I create that is just fine with me. Now however, I will be able to shut it up and stop the clutter that was swirling around and driving me crazy.

I ended up donating over 20 bags to our local thrift stores and giving several bags as gifts to friends.
I also drove around and added books to the tiny little book library drops folks have outside their homes.

My listening to what I need in my life is bringing me to more nature, more creating from the strong place I feel deeply, more spiritual strength of sharing hope, positive living and love. I have big plans for myself that include online classes (journaling, painting, stitching) a book or two, licensing projects and expanding my card line. Oh, I am also planning on traveling to teach in the new year as well. I believe that I am well on my way of feeling comfortable in my studio space. I am grateful and try to never take for granted what has brought me to this time and place.

I hope by sharing my journey you are inspired to do something big for yourself, whatever that might look like for you. Be kind, love your journey and yourself. It matters the very most.

my website where you can see and purchase all of my 101 greeting cards.

17 September 2017

the gift of collaboration - sharing my studio with a treasured artist friend

we both adore layers, time worn looks, designing things that look vintage 

we both love textures be it with fabric, paint, papers, stitches

there is a gift in seeing with a very detailed eye the beauty that can show up

watching a piece transform and sharing the joy together

taking the forgotten old, tattered and giving it a new life
This past 4 days I shared my studio space with a dear friend and artist (who I have adored for at least 15 years) Diana D. Darden. She drove from Minneapolis to gather with me and work on designing for a big event outside of Minneapolis this October. My writings are about the gifts to opening up your space to another artist and how many wonderful moments come out of such days.

I believe there is magic to be found in the real time that sits in the studio with two people. The talk, the silence, the listening, the finding music we each love and sharing. Seeing how the other works, holds a paint brush, how they think when creating (fast in the process or slow) Timing of art is something few people can explain. Sure there are lots of quotes from really cool people about timing of art - when to know a piece is done. There is freedom, trust and pure love in sharing the experience of handing a piece of art back and forth and trusting the other person to add their energy.

I loved this process with Diana. The days were long and full of discovery and digging in our piles of time loved bits to create together. I am grateful for this time in my life. Rarely do we get to sit and create day after day with someone who we love.

My wish for others is to be brave, fearless and keep opening up your heart, your studio, your table to listen and create with others. It matters.



11 September 2017

giving thanks for my life being saved 15 years ago. yes, i give thanks several times every single day.

i walked miles and miles in Deephaven with my dogs. everyday. 

i nested and created a home that was beautiful to me.

i lived 8 houses up the hill from lake minnetonka. 

Dr. Michael Schueppert (Vascular Surgeon) SAVED MY LIFE!

Methodist hospital filled with talented nurses, doctors saved my life. 

looking up as i walked in the hospital, the last view i saw. 

what is a renal artery aneurysm

I am a person who tries very hard to look at my life and be grateful for everything everyday. It is not easy but, I do practice the noticing, manifesting goodness and I believe in giving back in ways that I can (in being grateful for my life being saved).

Never had I imagined that I would be told without this surgery (and fast) you will die. You might die even with the surgery. WOW!!! I was not really great at processing all of this information as quickly as I thought I could. I cried and then I got serious about getting my life in order. I made lists of everything I needed to have others know (in case I did not make it) I had all of my affairs in order (as they say) I prayed. I prayed lots. I asked my main surgeon if he thought he could save me. His answer was this "You have to believe I can save you and trust me. I can tell you without this surgery you will die and soon." So with that I empowered myself with everything I knew how to.

See I had been sick, really sick. I had always been active and walked fast with my black lab like a ninja. I was loyal walking lots and lots, I did not stop to chat I power walked in every season. Then one day I came in and could barely walk upstairs. I was so tired, winded and weak. That started my journey of going to doctor after doctor, each saying that my blood pressure was super high but, no real reason for it? Then I started passing out at random spots, dressing rooms at stores, in my kitchen, driveway, restaurants each time going by ambulance to the hospital. Each time being released with a new story of nothing. I kept going. I kept searching for a doctor who would do more then give me more medicines. Finally, I asked at my local clinic for an old school doctor who would meet with me and just listen. I was told there was only one and he was not taking new patients, sorry. I begged, I drove over to the clinic and begged leaving my charts from the past 8 months for the doctor to look at. They were not super pleased with me, I did not care. I knew that I needed help. The very next morning the old school (soon to retire doctor) called me and asked how quickly I could get to his office. I said ten minutes. I was there in ten and in twenty he knew that I had an aneurysm. WOW.
He made an immediate appointment sending me to Dr. Schueppert's office.

Then the reality of realizing my situation finally came true. I knew that I was sick, finally someone believed me. Thank God.

My aneurysm was on my rental artery and had wrapped around my right kidney and had killed off most of that kidney. YEP, that is why I was so sick. I was thrilled to have an answer and also afraid of what might lay ahead. I believed with my whole heart that if I believed I would live, stayed positive, used humor to help get me through I would be fine (better then fine) GOOD!!!

I made lists of promises to myself. I would get a divorce from a very unhealthy marriage. I would create more art for me personally. I would try to help others more.  I would share more of the goodness and miracle that would be given to me by living.

I was told I would be in the hospital for at least 3 weeks. In one week I had myself managing pain with Advil (as I am allergic to pain meds) I was up and going home. Yes, I had a long recovery but, I did it.

I have also stayed true to everything on my list. I still work on that list 15 years later. As I get older I get more determined to get that big dream of mine.

I will! Yes, I will. Each day I will continue to give thanks for my miracle which is my life.


11 July 2017

Reflecting on this year so far, as it is my birthday week! Wow!!

Honored to have been asked to be in the fine gallery Outside the Lines in Galena. 
Making our nest "OUR OWN" We purchased this home in May. 

Designed, branded and styled this beautiful boutique for one of my best friends.

loved daily these two. my hearts.

Published in one of my all time favorite magazines Uppercase Mag.
Landed the cover of this book Uppercase Magazine published.

Discovered new painting styles within me. 

created spirit wands and loved every minute. 

our home. 

cut lots of hair off and went blondeR.

I always love to look at what my year looks like half way through as my birthday is July 15th. This day is so special to me as I have always been one to celebrate life. It has even more meaning to me since I turned 39 and almost left this heavenly earth. I am much more mindful of my time, energy and how I give love. I am delighted and most grateful to be turning another year older on Saturday.

I made a quick list of things that I have accomplished this year so far. I make vision boards and I use them. I do well with visuals they keep me on track. Gratefully I create more.

I overcame much fear, anxiety and really ended up proud of myself so far, so good. I face new stuff everyday like most of you. I am bound and determined to overcome the stuff that gets in my way.

Quick list.
1. I taught at Art is You in Minneapolis to wonderful students and fellow artists. Praying to be asked back as it was freeing, loving and so much more then I hoped for.
2. We purchased our home we had been renting for two plus years in Galena. We can now make it our  own and do improvements. We so love this house. Most of you know it was once a church built in 1838. Oh, the energy here is magic!!!
3. I love designing logos and so far I have created, branded 13 logos and counting.
4. Painted 16 new spirit warriors.
5. Added 11 new cards to my card line of 90. Now at 111. Love that number so much.
6. Co-hosted one benefit here in Galena to help a friend.
7. Super honored to have been published 3 times with Stampington Magazine.
8. Super honored to have the cover of Stitch - Illo and 8 pages featuring my art by Uppercase Magazine.
9. July 29 and 30 my art soul sister Lisa Sonora will travel from Oaxaco Mexico to co teach a two day workshop here in Galena. This is her only workshop in the USA this year. I am honored beyond.
10. Celebrated birthdays, mothers day, fathers day, and lots of everyday graces.
11. Designed and printed my licensing book. They are being created into loving artful packages that are flying around this country.  I am firmly believing I will be licensed. Yes, I will!
12. I am now making every effort to be featured in Where Woman Create as this has been a dream of mine for over 15 years. Must make it happen.

So as I reflect on Jan to July I am feeling proud of me. Proud of the family and friends who love me and help me be the very best ME i can be.

Thanks for showing up to be in my world. You matter a lot to me. With love ME.

http://www.kellimaykrenz.com/ more about my life as an artist here

http://lisasonora.com/blog/ you can still sign up for THE WORKSHOP with Lisa Sonora here.

http://uppercasemagazine.com/stitchillo/ Uppercase Magazine Stitch-Illo book

https://stampington.com/somerset-gallery Spirit Warrior Article here.

https://stampington.com/the-coloring-studio Coloring pages designed by me here.

07 June 2017

Passport to Galena - Boho Prairie with Lisa Sonora and I

world traveler, teacher, soul spirit journal Lisa Sonora 

gorgeous Lisa Sonora 

spirit warrior painting Kelli May-Krenz 

Creative Passport Galena - Boho Prairie

A Weekend Workshop in a Magical Riverside Prairie Town Celebrating Your Spirit Warrior Creative Self

with Lisa Sonora & Kelli May Krenz
Saturday, July 29 – Sunday, July 30, 2017
For women who crave a creative getaway, in the company of kindred spirits — two caring and experienced artist / teachers who will bring out the best of your creativity.
Join us in Galena, Illinois
This little river town is magic filled. You will feel as if you have been transported back in time. This city is all about history, art, music and good food. Here we honor artists and community.
Lisa will be traveling from her home in Oaxaco, Mexico to share magic with me here in this little river town of Galena. I am gushing with grace to know that we are creating a dream come true. We have been creating on this workshop for months, combining our talents to bring you the most amazing process, soul filled days of goodness. 
We are offering our early bird pricing until the 15th of June, 2017.
Our workshop has only a few more spaces to fill, we would love for you to join us. 
When you believe as strongly as we do in sharing, giving and filling up with artistic moments you know in your heart this is the place for you.
To learn more about this workshop please follow the link below.

21 March 2017

Testimonials helping me see myself. Grateful to Tracy Verdugo.

Tracy Verdugo - Take a class with this brilliant artist. 

St. Pete Beach Florida - Tracy's class I attended.
pure love = Tracy Verdugo

the beach gave so much beauty.

sunshine and art perfect combination

amen. i do this daily.

Several years ago now I took a painting class in St. Pete Beach Florida taught by the talented crazy beautiful soulful Tracy Verdugo. This class has changed me to be a better artist. I am most grateful.
I have been working this year on going for everything I can. I want to be a big licensed artist, I want to travel and teach and I want to get my art in the mainstream. In order to do this I must work steady and hard to share more of me. I also was told that testimonials help. So I continue to open up my fears and bust through them. Tracy has become a dear friend of mine, I am silly grateful. I asked Tracy if she could possibly write a testimonial for me. This is what she wrote. I was left reading this and thinking WOW how beyond loving is this.

Here are the words my crazy talented friend shared about me. Thank you again Tracy. I love you with my whole heart.

From the moment I met Kelli Jean May-Krenz I knew that the gifts she brings to

the world go far beyond the ordinary. Her capacity to create beauty from every

thing she touches stems from, I believe, her natural inclination to find beauty in

everything she sees. I have had the pleasure of calling this gorgeous woman/

artist/teacher and dreamer friend for several years now and I am always grateful

for her sweet presence in my world.

If ever you have the chance to meet or take part in one of her classes do not

hesitate. She will shift your world as she has mine.
-Tracy Verdugo


17 March 2017

Seeing myself through others eyes. Grateful.

me 2017

I have been working on some really big projects that will put me out into this big world. I am creating like crazy. I am doing it! I am going for it! I am not listening to any internal voices that shine doubt on me or my art! NOPE! Done with that crap! I am pushing through any self doubt or fears. This is my year to SHINE like I know that I was meant to.

I know that I have needed to ask a few friends, clients, people I admire so very much for testimonials on ME. What a hard thing for me to do ~ ask for help. I am great at helping but, asking wow there was a great deal of fear around this for me. I did it anyway. I asked.

This is one of the testimonials I received. I was so set back by his words, I read and read again. Then I looked in the mirror and thought - wow am I blessed. Crazy blessed to be this beloved.

Reading this still chokes me up. I am grateful to see myself through a few others eyes.

Testimonial by Jeff Arundel.

"I first met Kelli when a group gathered to help a friend of ours who had cancer - we were putting
on a fund-raiser, and various things were needed, including invitations and other design stuff.
Kelli (who was helping even though she didn’t even really know the person) passed out some
mock-ups. Being kind-of snobby when it comes to design, I was prepared to see some typical work
that had been pasted together, but when the designs made their way around the table to me, I saw
some of the most breath-taking, detailed, handcrafted work I had ever come across! My head
snapped up and I peered down the table, wondering ”who is this Kelli May”? At the other end sat
a tiny blonde, shyly offering her lovely work to the room (and helping a person she didn’t really know).

Once you get to know Kelli, the breadth of her talent can dumbfound you. With me, she has designed
a comprehensive line of kids clothing, hand-drawn various record jackets, painted, toted our her
sewing machine and sewn draperies and cushions, and in general brought the world-class twinkle of
natural greatness to everything she has worked on. And besides that, she paints in a signature style,
and writes, and dresses using vintage stuff. I know, it sounds like I’m making it up, but I’m not.
Kelli is a tiny Whirling Dervish of creativity, and she is gathering momentum as she careens forward
into new creations. How could one little person be so good at so much?”
~ Jeff Arundel    jeffarundel.com

Seriously, how lucky am I. The path to believing in yourself is out there. Seek it! Follow it and never ever give up!!!


01 March 2017

becoming more of me 2017

little me. i had a pixie haircut until i was 18. 

she believed she could so she did! I believe I can. 

2011 Paris France. I have such a connection to this city.

2017 changing all of my comfort zones.

March 1st seems like a perfect time to blog about ME. I have been thinking lots about what makes me - ME. I will share this with you I have suffered from anxiety and depression my entire life. Mainly anxiety and lack of self esteem. SHOCKED? Nope it is true. I work daily at filling myself up and practicing positive living. It is not easy. I might make it look easy but, I promise you it is not.
I am blessed with a knowing that my creating, my art is how I am meant to live my life. My art is truly my escape and my therapy.

Three years ago I made the choice to back out of my corporate freelance with graphic design and illustration. I have owned my studio for 25 years. I had really steady lovely clients. I made the decision to sell the home I had lived in for 17 years, sell most everything I could and move across the country with my hubby and Pearl Button. We did it!!! We moved to Florida (thinking this was the dream come true) Time would tell us that it was not.

I continued while I was there to start creating for me. Not for anyone but, me. I have been told my entire life that I need to pick one style, or try to fit into this mold, do this like they do and you will sell more. NOPE!!! I cannot, will not copy others, I will not just show that I can do one style. See God has blessed me to draw, paint, graphic design, sew, style spaces. Not only one style of these but, lots and lots. I am in no means bragging because see I have no ego either.

Rare to meet an artist that has no ego and not cocky with self esteem. So I am learning now at this time in my life that yes, I have anxiety and it is a big deal to face daily. I also know that I am not listening to those trying to hold me back. I am taking bigger risks, facing bigger fears no matter how much it is scary.

I am sending all sorts of my styles of artwork (very soon) into the world. I am determined to make a difference with my art! It matters to me that I succeed wildly. See I know what it is like to go to the very bottom and with help from others stand up again.

I am standing, I am walking along the rivers edge praying for the manifesting of my dreams. I am also working day and night to create this life.

I want others to know that my life is not easy. I wake up each day and pour more love on me and practice all of the words you see me right. The old bad habits fall away and new ones replace them.

Just like you I have big stuff that I must juggle with. I am only showing up real, honest and hoping to help.

Loving more.


19 January 2017

Growing up in a little river town.

I grew up in a little river town. I think we had one stoplight. I lived one block from the mighty Mississippi river. I loved the river. We lived on the river in the summer, my dad always had boats and mom and dad and I would pack the coolers, get gas for the boat and launch out for a sun filled boating adventure.

I have been looking at the spirit warrior paintings that keep coming to be for the past several months. They are changing (I actually am liking them) they seem to be bringing me comfort and a sense of home. They are teaching me what is important to my soul at this time in my life. I am listening, paying close attention, journaling and taking notes. How does my style work in this medium? Where is the graphic designer in all of this that I have been for most of my career? I can tell I am heavily influenced by color I was in my design work as well. I still continue to layer, layer and layer more.
 I too do that in my design work. I like these discoveries.

I love what the river and nature has taught me. It feels like home whenever I am around water, sand, fields, docks, cabins. I simply feel alive when I see water. I adore it. I have big plans in my life for this summer (perhaps we will be able to afford a small boat) that would be dreamy.

I know the river has much to teach me still. I feel it. My spirit warriors are starting to become more about nature and elements that breathe life into me. Fire, water, fields, flowers a delicate balance of seeing and capturing these elements with paint. I like it.

I have found that my favorite medium to paint on is heavy wood. I love being able to sand it, cut into it, layer and layer then remove and make marks. It is forgiving and still looks amazing with the raw attempts to texturize it. Yes, I am fond of wood.

Interesting I find that home for me is near water, with a fire, wind, rocks to discover, driftwood to collect, shells to wash ashore. The little girl from the little river town is becoming whole and healing here in this tiny new town of historic everything in the past two years that we have lived here in Galena Illinois.

I have much to give in this artful life I have created. This is the year I give. I show up. I create big huge stuff. I reveal all of my walks, challenges and pray that I help others believe in good, know pure joy, and really appreciate just being alive. I have really big goals this year that I will continue to share. I am full out blasting open every fear and going for it all. I am asking friends for help if I need the connections, I am learning programs, video skills for online class creating. Meeting others who can help guide me to be the best artist I can be.

Tomorrow it is suppose to be 44 degrees here (kind of a heat wave in January)
I will go to the river and thank it for all it continues to bless me with.

Perhaps you have a special place that makes you feel most alive? Maybe, you too can visit it.
I wish this for you.